Caring Sharing Exchange

The Caring & Sharing Exchange – Sponsor-a-Hamper Program

The Caring and Sharing Exchange has introduced a new initiative as part of their nearly century old Christmas Exchange Program. Starting this holiday season, members of the Ottawa community can now deliver Christmas directly to local individuals and families in need through the new sponsor-a-hamper program. Sponsors are able to purchase supplies for a hamper, pack it themselves, and deliver it directly to a family in need.

“We are very excited about the addition of this program,” said Cindy Smith, Executive Director of the Caring and Sharing Exchange. “This is a very tangible and personal way for people to give back to the community during the holiday season and with the Exchange’s unique Co-ordination Service all donors can rest assured that there is no duplication of service.”

The Caring and Sharing Exchange provides Christmas assistance to individuals and families in the form of a food hamper or redeemable gift voucher. Last year, the organization’s Christmas Exchange program received requests for assistance from close to 25,000 individuals. Unfortunately, despite the generosity of the Ottawa community, they were able to provide assistance to less than half of this number, leaving thousands without.

“We hope that by offering our supporters another way to give, we will be able to assist more people this year,” said Smith. “This is a way of giving back that allows for a family, business, team or group to get involved and to be assured that 100% of their support goes right into direct assistance.”

Because this organization receives such a large number of requests each year, it allows the sponsor-a-hamper program to offer donors the option of choosing the size of family they would like to make a hamper for. This ranges from an individual or two person household to families of 6 or more. It also allows for the option of making a hamper for seniors.

“Last year, more than ten percent of those we assisted were seniors,” said Smith. “We feel that giving donors the option of choosing to support a senior or seniors in need will be one of the things that make our hamper program unique.”

If you would like to register to sponsor a hamper (or hampers!) this holiday season, please fill out an online registration form available on the Caring and Sharing Exchange’s website at, or e-mail for more information. You can also make a monetary donation online in order to help this charity provide direct food assistance.


An Early Lesson In Kindness

We are trying (and I stress using the word trying more liberally than using the word succeeding) to teach our kids from a young age that there are many kids and may adults who haven’t as much as we do.

The concept of “having less than us” is a little loose when described to a child.

“Why don’t they just buy more?” they’ll ask.

“Well because they don’t have as much money as we do to buy some of the things you guys have lying around,” we’ll try and respond.

“Then why don’t they work for longer?”

And so on it will go in the game of why that kids are so good at. And instead of explaining the concept of poverty etc we’ve taken up a project that has us saving our quarters to donate to the Caring and Sharing Exchange’s Christmas Exchange program.

It’s nothing too big, but it’s a start and every time we throw our quarters in there it gives us a chance to reiterate why we’re collecting them and who we’re giving them to. It doesn’t always go according to plan.

“I want the money so we can go to a show Daddy.”

“Well these are for families who might not want to have money to go to a show.”

“Then can we go to a show right now?”

“Well no, we’re about to eat supper.”

“If we can’t go to a show right now, we must need the money too.”

“Can we just collect them for other boys and girls please.”

“Ok Daddy, we’ll go to a show another time.”

Which leads us back to where I started this story—the trying part. We have two young kids with one big heart each. It’s been a lot of fun teaching them the value of kindness.


This story is courtesy of Mike Reynolds from the blog Puzzling Posts. If you have a story you would like to share with us, please head over to the Submit a Story page.